Mahi Aroha

1 to 28 January 2017

You would be forgiven if the words exciting, action-packed and adventurous were not the first words that sprung to mind when you thought about conservation. But the Department of Conservation together with Project Tongariro are flipping the notion of conservation on its head with the interactive Summer Programme, Mahi Aroha.

Showcasing, celebrating and acknowledging all things conservation, bringing together the Central Plateau’s stunning natural and historical treasures and serving them to the public in a way that is sure to ignite the senses of both young and the young at heart.

Forget a pallet of khaki, fanny packs and club sandwiches, exploring the environment has never been more fun or diverse. With access to some of the area’s most remote locations, you could be walking, running, biking, jet-boat riding or flying by helicopter to learn more about the place so many call home.

The exciting annual activity calendar allows the public an exclusive opportunity to explore the environment, learning more about the unique flora and fauna, landscapes, cultural and historical sites, creatures and the people working tirelessly to ensure the Central Plateau remains in tact for future generations.

With activities targeting individuals and families, the Department of Conservation and Project Tongariro deliver a Summer Programme worthy of applause.

"We are pleased to be working with the Department of Conservation on this programme which gives everyday New Zealanders the opportunity to enjoy the special places that staff and volunteers get to experience everyday through their ongoing work and commitment to conservation. It is exciting and an honour to have the chance to share what we value with the public, " says Project Tongariro President Paul Green.

The Department of Conservation and Project Tongariro are certainly excited about the programme and with good reason. It’s a feast for the senses and offers an alternate events avenue to the acclaimed “events capital of the New Zealand.”

"Mahi Aroha offers an awesome range of events that gives people the opportunity to get out into the great outdoors and experience what the Tongariro and Taupo areas have to offer. It is great that we can team up with Project Tongariro and other groups to be able to develop an outstanding selection of events and experiences for people of all ages and abilities,” says the Department of Conservation’s Partnerships Manager Whakapapa Jono Maxwell.

There is a strong emphasis on participation within this year’s programme, with the majority of activities costing less than a movie ticket. Many are open to children as young as six-years-old and there are plenty of opportunities for families or groups of friends to head out and explore something new together.

Grass roots type fun like building a kite and flying it beneath the volcanic peaks of Tongariro National Park for the price of a gold coin is a guaranteed family favourite. For those seeking something to get the heart racing, there are a number of mountain bike rides that have earned their place on the North Island’s list of must-do rides.

If wildlife fascinates you, then an exclusive trip to the heart of Kaimanawa horse country will sure excite, or perhaps it’s the elusive Blue Duck that captures your heart. Explore the Whio’s natural environment by white water as you set off on the upper waters of the Tongariro River by raft.

Glowworms, iconic Rainbow Trout and more native species of birds than you can shake a stick at, all feature in this year’s summer programme.

Conservation work in the Central Plateau is a tireless job. In order to ensure the region stays intact, beautifully preserved and offering a haven for the various species of flora, fauna and wildlife that call it home, it needs the man-hours.

Mahi Aroha has rallied in the experts. Tours are led by those in the know, volcanologists, ecologists, fishery advisors, biodiversity officers to name a few. The programme applauds and recognises the many people working behind the scenes whose job it is to go into bat for the environment and who are the driving force behind the region’s future, but the message remains, there is always room for more help and extra bodies to lend a hand.